Asia, India, China, Middle East, Cultivation/Production, Equipment/Technology, Sustainability

Experts in India encourage farmers to irradiate potatoes for longer shelf life

For potato farmers in India reeling under issues of glut, experts of the Board of Radiation and Isotope Technology (BRIT), Department of Atomic Energy, Navi Mumbai, have suggested that they should consider irradiation of their produce for a longer shelf life and to improve their prospects for export.

Dr Yojana Singh, a scientist from BRIT, who was at the expo of Indian Science Congress that concluded today at Lovely Professional University, said many companies exporting spices were getting their packs irradiated using gamma radiation processing services from one of the 22 radiation processing plants across the country, which were running under an agreement with the BRIT.

She added, “Recently, we have started irradiating mangoes and litchis and these remain fresh for three months. We are already doing it for potatoes in UP and onions in Maharashtra. Farmers in the state too can go for irradiation of their produce from the nearest plant, which can be in Delhi”.

The experts said many Indian companies were removing the stamping because of prevailing misconceptions that radiation was unsafe.

[Editor’s note: Wikipedia provides the following information on irradiation: Food irradiation is the process of exposing food and food packaging to ionizing radiation. Ionizing radiation, such as from gamma rays, x-rays, or electron beams, is energy that can be transmitted without direct contact to the source of the energy (radiation) capable of freeing electrons from their atomic bonds (ionization) in the targeted food.This treatment is used to improve food safety by extending product shelf-life (preservation), reducing the risk of foodborne illness, delaying or eliminating sprouting or ripening, by sterilization of foods, and as a means of controlling insects and invasive pests.]

Report by The Tribune

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